Mauricio Pochettino wants Lionel Messi to be given time to adapt to his new surroundings at Paris Saint-Germain, who are preparing to go up against "the best coach in the world" in Pep Guardiola. 

Messi has yet to score or assist in three appearances since joining PSG on a free transfer amid financial difficulties at Barcelona, but Pochettino is prepared to be patient with the iconic superstar. 

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been struggling with a knee injury of late, though he may be involved when the French club host Manchester City in a titanic Champions League clash. 

"[Messi] is progressing very well, and I think he'll be in the squad, but I don't know if he'll start," Pochettino said in his pre-match media conference ahead of Tuesday’s meeting in the French capital.  

"He's the best player in the world, but he's still a human like everyone else. He also needs to adapt to this new team, new culture and new country. He was at Barcelona for 20 years, everything is new here for him.  

"With time, I have no doubt that everything will go well and we're going to have real success together." 

The former Tottenham and Southampton boss also attempted to downplay expectations as his side chase European glory, claiming that PSG are not yet the finished article - unlike their next opponents. 

"We're a work in progress," Pochettino said. "It's not an opinion, it's a fact. We have to look at where we have come from and where we are today. 

"We're going to face Manchester City and the best coach in the world, Pep Guardiola. They're a great team, a club that dreams of winning the Champions League, as we do. They're perhaps ahead of us, but anything can happen in a football match. 

"We're going to try and cause them problems with a lot of desire, determination, and also by applying our ideas and limiting their qualities, and finding weaknesses to exploit. It's a match for the players in which they can show their potential." 

Pochettino also dismissed the idea that the contest with City is their first real challenge of the season, having won all of their first eight Ligue 1 games to sit nine points clear at the top of the table. 

"A first test? I don't think so. We've had a different challenge in each game. The start of the season hasn't been easy because we have got players back gradually. Since we've had a complete squad, we've worked,” he said.

"We know the expectations on us and we know we have to work with responsibility and rigour today, not tomorrow. We have to stand up and be counted when a game comes up." 

There was also an update on the fitness of Marco Verratti, who, like Messi, is set to be part of the squad but may not be ready to start. 

Manchester City made something of a statement in their 1-0 win over potential title challengers Chelsea on Saturday, whereas Manchester United seemed to take another step back as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign stuttered again.

But Solskjaer is certainly not the only top-flight manager feeling the heat – Nuno Espirito Santo's honeymoon period as Tottenham boss is well and truly over, with the Portuguese now among the favourites to be the first Premier League boss sacked this season following a 3-1 defeat in the north London derby.

Without any further ado, here are some of the more curious facts and stats from across the Premier League this past weekend…

City defence putting the 'guard' in Guardiola

It may not have been the thrill ride neutrals were likely hoping for, but City's 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge was another impressive indicator of just how good Pep Guardiola's team is as a unit.

Of course, they won the Premier League only a few months ago, so saying City are "good" probably won't cut it for analysis – but what is really making people sit up and take note at the moment is how their unity and cohesion is translating into defensive solidity.

City have conceded just one goal in their six Premier League games this term, the fewest they've ever shipped at this stage of any league campaign.

Let's not forget that Chelsea had been widely praised for their own start to 2021-22, yet on Saturday they were prevented from having a single shot on target in a home league game since November 2012, which coincidentally was also against City.

But even more impressive from City's perspective was the fact Chelsea's expected goals (xG) value was just 0.2, the worst they've recorded in a home Premier League game since Opta records began in 2008-09.

While Chelsea fans will understandably be frustrated, it would seem their struggles on Saturday were more down to City being in a groove defensively.

They've only faced six shots on target this season, a record no Premier League has bettered over the first six matches in a campaign since at least 2003-04. If they keep this up, the title will surely be staying at the Etihad Stadium.

Fernandes' penalty miss not Man Utd's big issue

It was another day to forget for United on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

They were presented with a great opportunity to equalise in second-half stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes sent his penalty over the crossbar.

Much of the focus afterwards was on Fernandes and his miss, though it would be unfair to pin the blame on him – after all, of the 23 spot-kicks he has taken since his United debut, he's only failed to convert two.

In the same time period, Cristiano Ronaldo – seemingly Fernandes' main penalty rival now – has taken 22 and missed four. This is not a problem that United need to dwell on much.

Instead, they'd be wise to look into their glaring tactical inefficiencies, with Solskjaer's team sorely lacking identity, cohesion and a defined playing style. Too often they are bailed out by moments of individual brilliance, which is an unsustainable approach to solely rely on in a title challenge.

Against Villa, those instances of individual excellence never arrived, despite United mustering 28 shots. That was the most efforts attempted by United without scoring in a home league game since October 2016 (38 shots in 0-0 draw with Burnley).

They have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their worst such run in 49 years, and lost three successive home matches (all competitions) for the first time since 1962.

Norwich set new benchmark for worst start

With every match that passes, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to become ever dimmer for Norwich City.

A 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday leaves Norwich pointless and with a -14 goal difference after six matches – that makes their start to the season the worst after six matches in Premier League history.

Only twice before had a Premier League side begun a campaign without a single point from six games, the last of which was Frank de Boer's infamous Crystal Palace team in 2017-18 – the Dutchman was sacked after the fourth match in that sequence.

Norwich have at least been a little more patient than Palace, with Daniel Farke's record of overseeing two promotions seemingly ensuring he retains some good will at the club, even if he now has the highest loss percentage (75 per cent, 33/44) of any manager to take charge of at least 20 games in the Premier League.

Most would already consider Norwich to be doomed for relegation, though perhaps there is some reason for optimism.

There have only been nine teams to start a top-flight season (prior to 2021-22) with six or more successive losses, but four of them – including Palace – have avoided relegation.

Vardy joins exclusive club

Jamie Vardy ended up having a peculiar day when Leicester City drew 2-2 with Burnley on Saturday, the former England striker scoring three of the four goals.

It was his own goal that gave Burnley an early lead, while he also got both Leicester equalisers, including one late in the day.

That was his first own goal ever in 360 appearances for Leicester, while he became the first player to net at both ends for the club in a single Premier League game.

It's happened to some of the best, though. He joins an illustrious list containing 11 others who have scored at least 100 goals but also put past their own goalkeeper, with Harry Kane, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney among them.

On top of that, Vardy is now only one of five players in Premier League history to score at least twice at the right end and an own goal in the same game after John Barnes (Liverpool v Spurs 1995), Niall Quinn (Sunderland v Charlton Athletic 2001), Rooney (Man Utd v Stoke City 2012) and Tammy Abraham (Chelsea v Wolves 2019).

But he is still doing more than his fair share at the other end, his brace in this game taking him to eight goal involvements in his past seven league games, which is 89 per cent (8/9) of Leicester's goals in that time.

Bad omens stacking up for Nuno

After three wins from his first three Premier League games in charge, everything was looking rather rosy for Tottenham boss Nuno.

Three matches and three defeats later, some will doubt whether he'll still be in charge this time next month, let alone this time next season.

Sunday's north London derby was his 10th in charge of Spurs and the 3-1 loss made him the first manager to lose as many as four of his first 10 matches at the helm of the club since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

Hoddle was also the last Spurs boss to conceded at least three goals in three consecutive league games in September 2003, and he was sacked after that run.

Nuno will probably make it to the next match but the last team to begin a season with three wins and then lost the next three (Everton, 1993-94) finish as low down as 17th.

His future arguably rests on getting something out of Kane, who's failed to score in five straight league games for the first time since August 2016, but things aren't looking great given Spurs' 35 open-play shots is the second fewest in the division and their expected goals (xG) total is just 3.2, only higher than three teams.

While a lack of quality chances might usually be masked by Kane's excellence, he's not bailing them out any longer – if that continues, it's difficult to see Nuno keeping his job for the long term.

Pep Guardiola freely admitted he has no master plan in mind to contain Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe when Manchester City meet Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Assuming Messi is fit to feature, this match will be the first time he has gone up against his former boss Guardiola since the six-time Ballon d'Or winner departed Barcelona in August.

Although Messi was handed his Barca breakthrough by Frank Rijkaard, it was under Guardiola that he truly established himself among the best in the world.

He featured 47 times for Guardiola in the Champions League, 18 more than for any other coach, and scored 43 times at an average of one every 92 minutes — among managers he has played more than two games for in the competition, he has only netted with greater frequency under Tata Martino (79 minutes per goal, seven matches).

Of course, this will not be the first time Messi has faced a Guardiola team — he boasts an impressive record haul of six goals in four games against his former mentor, including a hat-trick when Barca beat City 4-0 back in October 2016.

"This type of player speaks for himself on the pitch," Guardiola told a news conference on Monday. "I don't have to add anything else.

"We are fortunate to see him in his 15, 16 years… I don't know how many years since he turned professional.

"He speaks for himself. I don't have to talk about him. What he's done in his career is more than exceptional and hopefully tomorrow he can play for the good of the game.

"[Messi leaving Barca] was a surprise for everyone, but it happened and everyone accepts it.

"A long time ago or even few years ago you couldn't imagine it, but you never know what happens. I'm pretty sure he'll be happy there in Paris."

Messi has got off to a slow start in France, with a late arrival due to the Copa America delaying his debut and then the first international break of the season interrupted his settling-in period. He also missed the win over Montpellier due to a minor knee knock.

As such, he has played just three times for PSG and is yet to score, but Guardiola knows all too well what Messi is capable of and believes Mauricio Pochettino's front three have the talent to be up there with the best attacks he has faced.

"Yes, they have the quality," Guardiola said when asked if PSG's frontline could challenge Jurgen Klopp's Premier League-winning Liverpool attack and Luis Enrique's famed 'MSN' strikeforce.

"Both teams you mention had incredible players up front and good organisation and I think the manager from PSG can do it. The players they have upfront is the level of the previous teams I mentioned, of course they can do it.

"Football needs time, normally the people of football don't give it to us, but of course the qualities of the players… For many years PSG always have top players, being conducted by top, top managers, that's why always in the league, cups, Europe, they are there.

"We know exactly how difficult it is, maybe the most difficult, but at the same time we try to do our game knowing how good they are individually and collectively."

Pressed on whether he had an idea of how to stop Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, Guardiola said with a resigned chuckle: "I don't know, with this amount of quality I don't know what we should do to stop them.

"Honestly, they're so good. This amount of talent altogether to be controlled, it's so difficult. We try to defend well when we don't have the ball and try to let them run when we have the ball.

"They're exceptional players, everyone knows it. Individually they are so good, they can combine and connect with each other.

"The three players up front they can do whatever they want, play wide, narrow, one right and one left, they can combine well and have the quality.

"The talent cannot be stopped — we have to do it as a team. Individually we cannot put the pressure on one player to solve the skills and talents they have.

"We have to be compact, together and help each other, know we are going to suffer and be in pain, and how you handle the pain in these moments…you have to be able to suffer for 90 minutes."

Manchester City star Bernardo Silva could leave the Premier League champions, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

Silva was tipped for a City exit in the off-season amid links with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona but the Portugal international remained in Manchester.

The 27-year-old has started five of City's six Premier League matches this season, while he scored the winner in the 1-0 victory at Leicester City.

After impressing in Saturday's 1-0 win away to rivals and Champions League holders Chelsea, Guardiola praised Silva.

"All I want is for Bernardo to be happy, here or anywhere. All I want is his happiness because he's a guy that deserves the best," said Guardiola.

"He's so intuitive - it's not his role as a holding midfielder but he knows exactly how to play it and how to anticipate what is going to happen, with the ball or without the ball.

"Against Norwich [City] he played exceptional, against Arsenal he played exceptional, Southampton played at the level of the team - that was not good.

"But how well he played against Chelsea is no surprise. How many times have we seen it? He was an incredible signing for us because he's an exceptional person."

Silva has won three Premier League titles since joining City in 2017 and Guardiola added: "I never forget the second Premier League we won, with 98 points, he was the best player in England. He was nominated [for an award] but he was the best.

"After that season, later he dropped a little bit, he was not in the position he prefers but now he's back and hopefully he can help us.

"If, at the end, he wants to leave and decides [to go] the only thing I can say is that the guy or the club that gets Bernardo is going to take one of the best players in the world.

"Is he happier? You cannot play in this way if you are not happy, it's impossible."

City have conceded just one goal in their six Premier League games this season – the fewest they have shipped at this stage of a league season in their history.

After his match-winning goal, Gabriel Jesus became the fifth player to score 20-plus match-winning goals in the Premier League for City, after Sergio Aguero (48), Raheem Sterling (23), Yaya Toure (22) and David Silva (20).

Manchester City showed exactly why they are the reigning champions as they overcame previously unbeaten Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.  

As for neighbours Manchester United, they suffered a damaging 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, who were good value for the victory, while Liverpool were held to a 3-3 draw by Brentford, despite another record-breaking goal from Mohamed Salah. 

Elsewhere, Michail Antonio's fine start to the season continued as his late goal helped West Ham overcome Leeds United. 

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at the key statistics from Saturday's most notable fixtures. 

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City: Jesus seals record-breaking victory for Guardiola

City bounced back from last weekend's surprise 0-0 draw with Southampton by ending Chelsea's unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign. 

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game, the Brazilian becoming the fifth player to score 20 or more match-winning goals for the club in the Premier League, after Sergio Aguero (48), Raheem Sterling (23), Yaya Toure (22) and David Silva (20). 

It was Jesus' 52nd Premier League goal, with City never losing a game in the competition in which he has scored in (P44 W42 D2) – extending the record for most games scored in without ever losing for a single side. 

The victory also allowed Pep Guardiola to set a new club record for most wins by a manager, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss moving past Les McDowall with a 221st victory. 

Chelsea, meanwhile, have lost their last two home Premier League games against the defending champions (also 0-2 vs Liverpool last season), after going unbeaten in each of the previous 13 such matches (W7 D6). 

Manchester United 0-1 Aston Villa: Hause secures memorable win at Old Trafford

Manchester United suffered their first defeat of the Premier League season as Aston Villa sealed a first top-flight win over the Red Devils since December 2009. 

Kortney Hause grabbed the decisive goal in the 88th minute, the latest winner scored by an away team at Old Trafford in the Premier League since Patrick van Aanholt secured victory for Crystal Palace in the 93rd minute in August 2019. 

That goal meant United have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their longest top-flight run without a clean sheet on home soil since February 1972 (also eight games). 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side did have the chance to seal a point in stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes blazed his spot-kick over the crossbar. That was only the Portugal international's second penalty miss in his 23 attempts for the club, the other coming against Newcastle United in the Premier League in October 2020. 

Brentford 3-3 Liverpool: Reds held by brilliant Bees

Premier League newcomers Brentford secured a memorable point against Jurgen Klopp's men in a pulsating match. 

The result marked the first time Liverpool had conceded three goals in a top-flight away game against a newly promoted side since January 2016 against Norwich City (a 5-4 win), while Brentford scored three goals in a top-flight game for the first time since January 1947 (4-1 against Wolves). 

Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal for the Reds, reaching that figure in 151 games – fewer than any other player in Liverpool's history. 

Indeed, only Alan Shearer for Blackburn (124 games), Harry Kane for Tottenham (138) and Sergio Aguero for Man City (147) have reached a century of Premier League goals for a single club in fewer appearances than Salah. 

Brentford have enjoyed an impressive start in the top tier, though. Their eight Premier League goals have been scored by seven different players – excluding own goals, only Chelsea (10) and Manchester City (nine) have had more different scorers in the competition this term. 

Leeds United 1-2 West Ham: Hosts suffer late Antonio hammer blow

David Moyes' side left it late to wrap up back-to-back wins at Elland Road for the first time in their history. 

Raphinha had put the hosts ahead early on with his fifth Premier League goal from outside the penalty area, the joint-most of any player since he made his debut in the competition in October 2020, tied with Son Heung-min. 

A Junior Firpo own goal pulled the Hammers level, before Antonio sealed all three points in the 90th minute. 

That goal meant Antonio became just the third player to score a 90th-minute winner against Leeds at Elland Road in the Premier League, after Nolberto Solano for Newcastle in December 2001 and Scott Parker for Charlton in December 2002. 

Thomas Tuchel saw his tactical switch fail as Chelsea lost 1-0 at home to Manchester City in the Premier League, and he admitted: "Maybe this is on me." 

Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season ended at Stamford Bridge, where Gabriel Jesus struck early in the second half to make the difference. 

Head coach Tuchel sent out Chelsea with three defensive midfielders and lined up Romelu Lukaku alongside Timo Werner from the start of a game for the first time in attack. 

With three centre-backs and defenders running the flanks, it meant Chelsea were found wanting when it came to creativity, as City took revenge for their defeat to Tuchel's men in May's Champions League final. 

"We lost the game and I think City deserved to win," Tuchel told BT Sport. 

"Until the goal, we were very, very strong in the last 20 metres of the field [Chelsea's defensive area], but only there unfortunately, and in the 80 metres left we were not good enough to escape pressure, to have ball possession, and not only ball possession to breathe but ball possession to switch play and to hurt them and to grow in confidence. 

"Until then, we defended very well the box and the goal, it was excellent, but this was the only part of the match. 

"The performance was not complex enough, it was overall not on our very best level, and you need your best level to push a game like this to your side." 

Chelsea had only 40 per cent of the ball, but that was also the case in the Champions League final where they made better use of their possession, showing a greater incisiveness. 

Rodri's inclusion allowed City's creative players to rampage at times, as his defensive qualities helped to shield a defence who encountered few midfield runners. 

Chelsea had goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for keeping the score down, as he pulled off two big saves to deny Jack Grealish. 

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, working as a television pundit at the game, described the result as "a 1-0 beating". 

"Chelsea didn't at any time look part of the game, look like a team who could get anything out of it," Ferdinand said. 

"City dominated in all areas: the intensity, the press, the possession, the chances on goal. If Mendy doesn't play today, they [Chelsea] probably concede three or four." 

Tuchel also recognised his Chelsea side got what they deserved. 

"In general, we can accept it because it was not our best game," Tuchel said of the defeat. 

"Even if we wanted to go for long balls for Romelu, it was not precise enough. I did not feel the belief that we could really escape with short balls, I did not really feel 100 per cent the belief that if we play long balls that we believe in it. 

"We lacked a little bit of freshness and energy. Maybe this is on me, maybe not the very best choices today, but OK." 

It was almost as though Thomas Tuchel was trolling Pep Guardiola, picking three defensive midfielders and two strikers. 

Guardiola had paid a high price for leaving his water carriers out of May's Champions League final battle between these teams. On Friday, he pointedly stressed he would not complain about his squad, yet also acknowledged City lacked a lethal finisher in the mould of a Romelu Lukaku. 

But this was a day when Guardiola resoundingly won the tactical battle, inflicting a first defeat of the season on Tuchel's Chelsea, ending City's sequence of three successive defeats to the men in royal blue. 

Chelsea had last enjoyed a longer run of wins against City when they strung eight together from December 2005 to March 2009, the balance of power in English football being very different in that period. 

Now City are champions of the Premier League and have been so five times in the last 10 seasons, and, A-list striker or no A-list striker, they might just pull it off again. 

Tuchel put an inordinate level of trust in the Lukaku and Timo Werner frontline combination working, as they began a game together for the first time. That smacked of cavalier coaching, an uncalled-for tactical shift in the biggest match of Chelsea's season so far, disrupting the system that last week delivered a ruthless 3-0 win at Tottenham. 

By sacrificing a midfield berth, Chelsea could not compete with City in that area, and duly the supply to Lukaku and Werner was hopelessly inadequate. 

And how did the Lukaku-Werner combination work out across the 90 minutes? Werner played one pass that found his new £97.5million team-mate, and Lukaku did not find the German with the ball at all. 

The midfields were silk and sandpaper, City with all the finesse and Chelsea the industry, but whereas City had a little snap too, with Rodri selected in the anchor role, Chelsea were woefully short of invention, utterly reliant on their full-backs pushing forward. They wanted to strong-arm their way to victory, and instead their limitations were laid bare. 

"Champions of Europe, we know what we are", sang the Chelsea fans at kick-off, followed by "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that". 

Their songs soon fell flat. 

Guardiola left Rodri and Fernandinho out of his Champions League team, when at least one of them had played in 59 of City's 60 games up to that point of the 2020-21 season, and Chelsea got the better of a team lacking its usual steel. 

It was a decision that felt over-thought, Guardiola outwitting himself in his eagerness to surprise Chelsea. But Rodri was back here, helping to shield a defence that might have expected a busier afternoon. 

Of course N'Golo Kante started for Chelsea, after his starring role against City in that European showpiece, but did Chelsea really need both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic alongside him, leaving Kai Havertz, goal hero of the May final in Porto, and Hakim Ziyech on the bench? No ship requires three active anchors, and their inclusion suggested Tuchel had gone overboard. 

Chelsea had just 33.3 per cent of first-half possession, and that figure was bolstered by them seeing more of the ball in the final 10 minutes, having been under 30 per cent until then. 

City had six shots to Chelsea's one by the break, and the visitors were winning 56.3 per cent of the duels, Rodri finding his man with 41 of 42 passes by the break, also winning possession seven times, more than anyone. 

Come full-time, City led 15-5 on shots, 4-0 on shots on target, Rodri had completed 74 of his 78 passes (94.9 per cent) and finished with a team-high 10 possession wins. His presence was colossal, allowing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to rampage. 

Guardiola said City would "do it as a group" as they aim to come up with the goals a world-class striker might score. He missed out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, but in Gabriel Jesus he has a Brazil international who might just fancy showing his boss he can be a 20-goal hitman again. 

Chelsea were undone in the 53rd minute when Joao Cancelo's shot after a short-corner move only ran as far as Jesus, who turned sharply and fired, with the help of a deflection of Jorginho, into the bottom left corner. 

That was the first shot to hit the target in the match, Opta said, and there was almost a second City goal moments later when Grealish sidestepped Cesar Azpilicueta on the left and curled towards the far post, with Edouard Mendy's fingertips pushing the ball wide for a corner. 

Thiago Silva cleared off the line from Jesus, then Mendy denied Grealish late on as City pushed for the second goal they surely deserved. 

Chelsea had just 39.62 per cent of possession in the Champions League final but dominated the chances there, with an expected goals (xG) total of 1.45 to City's 0.45 reflecting their greater threat in the final third. 

Here, it was City with 1.45 xG against Chelsea's paltry 0.2, Guardiola getting one over the team who have given him plenty of anguish over the years, inflicting eight defeats, more than any other against a Pep side. 

Guardiola's players celebrated with their fans, who included Oasis' Noel Gallagher, tossing shirts into the crowd, knowing this time they and their coach had implemented a master plan. 

Pep Guardiola is proud to have set the record for the most ever wins as Manchester City manager with Saturday's 1-0 victory over Premier League title rivals Chelsea.

The Catalan coach clocked up his 221st win in all competitions since arriving at City in 2013, overtaking the record previously held by Les McDowall.

City's well-earned victory at Stamford Bridge, secured courtesy of a deflected Gabriel Jesus strike, moves the reigning English champions level on points with Chelsea.

It snapped a three-game losing run for Guardiola against Chelsea, each of those with Thomas Tuchel in charge of the Blues, including May's Champions League final in Porto.

Guardiola's men dominated possession (60 per cent) and outshot their opponents 15 to five, leaving the ex-Barcelona boss to reflect on an impressive triumph for his side.

"The guys were outstanding today," he told BT Sport. "At this stadium, against this opponent, to do what we did makes me so proud.

"We came here and played our game. Sometimes you can't do it because the opponent is better. We were encouraged to press high and they could not make the build-up.

"Setting the win record makes me proud. We've done it at Stamford Bridge, against the Champions League winners. 

"We've been magnificent together. It makes me proud, not just for myself but especially for the club."

Jesus proved the hero for City in west London with a shot on the turn that deflected off Jorginho and wrong-footed Edouard Mendy, who starred with a couple of fine saves later in the match.

The Brazil striker has three goals and four assists in his last seven Premier League starts and has never been on the losing side when netting in the competition, a run spanning 44 games.

"Gabriel always gives us everything," Guardiola said. "You cannot say anything more about him. Every single game he runs for his team-mates.

"Having players like him in our team makes me so happy."

Jesus became the fifth player to score 20 or more match-winning goals in the Premier League for City, following in the steps of Sergio Aguero (48), Raheem Sterling (23), Yaya Toure (22) and David Silva (20). 

"I turned well and I was able to shoot," he told BT Sport when asked about his latest match-clinching strike against Chelsea.

"I was a bit lucky but I'm very happy to score that goal. The most important thing is that everyone played so well.

"We were against one of the best teams in Europe. They play so good and have a lot of amazing players. We knew it was going to be difficult for us. We played very well and won the game.

"Sometimes we don't play well, but if we suffer a little bit we can attack. We have a lot of top players to create chances and try to score goals."

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to move level on points with their Premier League title rivals.

City lost three times to Chelsea in the space of six weeks at the end of last season, including in the Champions League final, but Pep Guardiola finally got the better of Thomas Tuchel in Saturday's contest.

After dominating the first half without managing to test returning Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, the visitors opened the scoring eight minutes after the restart through a heavily deflected Jesus shot.

That sparked the game into life as City missed two big chances and Romelu Lukaku had a goal ruled out, though Jesus' strike proved to be the difference as top-flight champions City inflicted a first defeat of the season on European champions Chelsea.

Tuchel shifted from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 to accommodate Timo Werner and Lukaku up top for the first time and Chelsea struggled to get going.

All City had to show for their dominance of possession in a quiet first half, though, was a sliced Jesus shot at the back post after being found by Phil Foden.

Guardiola's side picked up from where they left off in the second half and opened the scoring with the game's first attempt on target.

Joao Cancelo's long-range effort hit Jesus and the Brazil striker took over with a shot on the turn that flicked off Jorginho on its way past a wrong-footed Mendy.

Mendy pulled off a fine low save to help Jack Grealish's shot past the post and substitute Thiago Silva blocked Jesus' drive on the line as City pressed for a second.

Those missed chances almost came back to haunt City when Lukaku tapped the ball into the net at the other end, but Kai Havertz was offside in the build-up and it was ruled out.

Chelsea desperately went in search of a leveller, yet the best of the remaining opportunities fell to City's Grealish, the midfielder again denied by Mendy when through on goal.

Thomas Tuchel has partnered Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku in the Chelsea attack from the start for the first time for the visit of Manchester City, who have a number of stars back fit.

Chelsea head into Saturday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge top of the table, three points ahead of champions City.

The Blues have beaten City in all three meetings since Tuchel took charge – including the Champions League final – and are looking to become the first side to defeat Pep Guardiola in four consecutive matches.

But Tuchel has mixed things up for this game, shifting from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 formation, including N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in central midfield after the trio excelled in the second half of last week's 3-0 win at Tottenham.

Most notably, that switch has created space for Werner in the front line next to record signing Lukaku.

Werner assisted Antonio Rudiger's strike at Spurs and then scored in the midweek EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa, as he aims to build on a disappointing 2020-21 campaign in which his 12 goals hugely underperformed his 21.1 expected goals.

The Germany forward and Lukaku have only previously played 61 minutes together so far in all competitions, although Chelsea have netted two goals and conceded none in that time.

Thiago Silva – outstanding at Tottenham – only made Tuchel's bench, but Edouard Mendy was passed fit to start in goal, facing an attack-minded City line-up.

Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden each came in for their first league starts of the season, yet it was Gabriel Jesus – playing from the right in the early stages of the campaign – who looked set to lead the line.

Guardiola had named a different midfield for all three prior meetings with Tuchel's Chelsea in 2021 but has reverted back to Rodri, who started the league defeat.

In a familiar 4-3-3, Aymeric Laporte was also cleared to line up alongside Ruben Dias.

Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City must cope without the "weapon" of a 25-goal clinical striker after being unable to replace Sergio Aguero.

On Saturday, City will face a Chelsea team which has been strengthened by the addition of Romelu Lukaku from Serie A champions Inter, for a shade under £100million.

For much of the transfer window, City were expected to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham, but that failed to come to fruition and they are instead looking for a squad-wide contribution to the goals account.

The Stamford Bridge test will give an indication of how well City can compete against fellow elite teams as they bid to retain the Premier League title.

With Champions League holders Chelsea adding Lukaku, Manchester United beating City to a deal for Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kane staying at Spurs, there are major clubs in England that have obvious focal points in attack.

Guardiola declared strikers to be unique in their sensibilities, saying: "They live outside of the bubble a team creates.

"They say, 'I am here to win the game'. We had privilege to have Sergio. These are the hardest players to take."

Aguero suffered with injuries during the closing stages of his 10-year City career, before leaving for LaLiga powerhouse Barcelona, and manager Guardiola found ways to cope without the leader of his attack, notably opting at times for a 'false nine', meaning his team was often stacked with attacking players but had no natural spearhead.

"We don't have this weapon like other teams have, like [Manchester] United, Chelsea or Tottenham. We have to use what we have as a team," Guardiola said.

"We don't have a player who scored 25 goals himself. We do it as a group and that is what we will try this season."

Guardiola has previously confirmed he would have liked to sign Kane, if he became available.

He reflected on his career as a coach and manager, pointing to always having had identifiable leaders and prolific scorers in his forward lines. Although Gabriel Jesus remains at City, Guardiola considers him a slightly different front player to a central striker.

"Always I had a striker in my career," said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

"Like goalkeepers, strikers are the biggest specialists. I played with Samuel Eto'o [at Barcelona], maybe the best or one of the best strikers I ever trained. And [Thierry] Henry [at Barcelona].

"I don't know if he's a striker or what he is, but Lionel Messi was able to score a few goals. There was [Robert] Lewandowski, Thomas Muller [at Bayern Munich], Sergio here.

"Always I play with a striker. Gabriel [Jesus] likes to play more in lateral ways than central. We want it as a club because I think the club knows, not for me, that it needs a striker in the next years."

Guardiola still believes City are a formidable prospect, and the Chelsea game followed by next week's clash with Paris Saint-Germain are tantalising prospects.

"When our squad is fit – all of them – I know what we can do because I have seen it in previous years," he said.

"It is a privilege to go to London and play there and then Paris. You will not hear me one single second complain about this season or about the players I have."

City have won three of their last six Premier League away games against Chelsea (L3), more than they had in their previous 23 visits to Stamford Bridge in the top flight (W2 D8 L13). Guardiola's side are looking to win back-to-back away top-flight games against Chelsea for the first time since January 1955.

In his managerial career, Guardiola has lost more games against Chelsea than he has versus any other opponent in all competitions (eight). Indeed, the Blues could become the first team to win four consecutive matches against the Spaniard.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says Manchester City remain the benchmark for his side in their pursuit of the Premier League title ahead of Saturday's meeting at Stamford Bridge.

The sides will face off for the first time since May's Champions League final at Estadio do Dragao in Portugal, which Chelsea won 1-0 through a Kai Havertz goal.

The Blues have now won their last three meetings with City, doing so in three different competitions in the space of six weeks at the end of last season.

Chelsea have carried that form into the 2021-22 campaign with seven wins and a draw to their name in all competitions.

They are joint-top of the league and are three points better off than City, but Tuchel believes the reigning champions remain the side to beat if they are to finish top this term. 

"It's a six-pointer between two teams who are rivals for the top four or the best outcome possible," Tuchel said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"Any team can, of course, steal three points from a direct competitor. Does it change anything? No, but there's no need to play it down.

"We could play a draw, though. Things will be tough and I mean that. They are the benchmark for many years now and I am very happy we're able to produce this kind of performance and result consistently. 

"We need to prove we can deliver with the same consistency. City remain the benchmark. We have to stay hungry and close the gap. This is what we have to do for 90 minutes. It's a marathon, not a sprint."

None of the last 12 Premier League meetings between Chelsea and City have been drawn, with the Blues winning five to their opponents' seven.

Another victory for Tuchel's men this weekend would move them six points clear of City, but Tuchel acknowledged the title race still has a long way to go regardless of Saturday's result.

"We are aware of the situation but I don't think it will provide any extra motivation for us," he said. "If it was three games before the end of the season, maybe.

"We need to be at our best, best level and that does not change. This is what I feel and it's what is important. 

"In the last three matches against them, we isolated the situation and if we wanted to compete with them in a 50/50 match, we needed out top level.

"It doesn't matter how many points we have and they have. Tomorrow against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, it's on. And we need to be fully on."

Tuchel added: "Let's be honest, if we win tomorrow we will not be champions and if City win tomorrow we will not be champions and we won't be in depression.

"It's an important match, a big match that we like to be involved in, and the situation we face this match is a good one because we feel ready for this kind of competition."

Tuchel confirmed he will be without Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount, the latter – who set up Havertz's winner in the Champions League final – sustaining a minor injury in the midweek EFL Cup penalty shoot-out win over Aston Villa.

"He is very disappointed and I didn't feel it during the last match because it was the second half and he played through the injury," Tuchel said.

"He finished the game, was confident to take an important penalty. So it was a surprise.The steps he is taking are huge. Maybe it was possible if the game was one day later. 

"So it's a minor injury but there is disappointment for him and us because he is a player that we count on. But no matter the importance, no matter how we rely on him, the task is to find solutions without him and bring him back as soon as possible."

Tuchel still has a number of other players to call upon in midfield and attack, yet arguably more intriguing will be the team opposite number Pep Guardiola fields.

The Catalan coach, often accused of overthinking his team selection in big matches, has failed to win all three encounters with Tuchel in English football.

Chelsea could become the first team to win four successive games against Guardiola in all competitions, though Tuchel has the utmost respect for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

Asked if he believes he is a better coach than Guardiola, Tuchel said: "This question does not even exist for me and I can't answer it. 

"It's a question for you guys and you can endlessly debate. I am a huge admirer for the impact he had from his first day of his professional coaching.

"The impact at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, he has my biggest respect. 

"There is not reason to ask myself if I am a better coach. I do the best I can, I am in a place I am very happy, and I am a better coach today than yesterday."

Pep Guardiola hailed the quality of the Premier League as Manchester City prepare to visit fellow title contenders Chelsea with early ground to make up. 

City sit fifth in the table after they were surprisingly held to a goalless draw by Southampton last weekend, having already lost their opener to the new campaign away at Tottenham. 

After being shut out by Ralph Hasenhuttl's team at home, City have now failed to score twice in five top-flight games, as many as in their previous 30 in the competition. 

However, Guardiola preferred to focus on the quality of opposition this season as the title race already starts to take shape, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all leading the way, the trio sitting three points ahead of the reigning champions. 

"Every year the second season is harder than the first one and the third and fourth," Guardiola told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"It is really tough, an incredible challenge for us. But we accept the challenge and we go for it. 

"It's a big compliment for the Premier League, for the fantastic, brilliant contenders, managers in all the clubs. 

"[There are] top quality players in every squad, 15-17 exceptional players. We have to be here and enjoy the Premier League in this country." 

Thomas Tuchel's side, who have recorded 15 Premier League clean sheets in 24 outings since the German's appointment, have won the last three meetings against City in all competitions. 

That run of results includes last season's Champions League final and also an FA Cup semi-final clash, with Guardiola now having lost more games against the Blues than any other team (eight). 

The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona head coach insists his side will not prepare any differently for the trip to Stamford Bridge, despite recent results between the sides. 

"We prepare the game like we prepare Southampton before and the previous games, try to read what they are and what we have done in recent games against Chelsea," he continued. 

"Every game is a new challenge, to improve and learn and be better. A final is completely different, the FA Cup was like a final, in the Premier League it was already done. 

"The Champions League was a massive game. We try to learn, it's one more game for the Premier League. Prepare the game from the points we have and improve what we have to be better." 

Pep Guardiola thanked Manchester City's academy after handing debuts to five youngsters in Tuesday's EFL Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers.

City, who have won the EFL Cup in each of the last four seasons, stormed to a 6-1 victory over their third-tier opposition at the Etihad Stadium.

Wycombe did take a shock lead through Brandon Hanlan, but Kevin De Bruyne's strike swiftly restored parity before Riyad Mahrez and the excellent Phil Foden put City in control.

Ferran Torres, Mahrez and substitute Cole Palmer – another academy graduate – got in on the act after the break.

All four of City's defenders were debutants, with each player born after the turn of the century, while holding midfielder Romeo Lavia was also making his senior bow.

Guardiola had said ahead of the tie he had no alternative but to call on City's youngsters, and he was not let down by what he saw.

"I am just going to say thank you very much to all the academy," he said.

"They have many good players, not just one or two. All of them are incredibly well-educated people. Thanks to their families. We have talented players. We can count on them absolutely."

With so much inexperience in the side, Foden – playing in midfield – was seen as an older head, despite being aged just 21.

Having had a delayed start to his campaign after sustaining an injury during Euro 2020, Foden clicked fully into gear with a hugely impressive display.

His goal was a venomous strike from long range that was too good for Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale, with the playmaker then providing the assist for Torres' goal having earlier teed up De Bruyne's leveller.

Foden had four attempts, while only Mahrez created as many chances (seven).

"Of course, definitely [impressed]," Guardiola said of Foden's display.

"Phil was injured for two months after the national team. Phil doesn't need many games to get his rhythm because he lives for football 24 hours a day. He is sharp."

De Bruyne also played the full 90 minutes, with Guardiola saying: "Kevin needs time for a proper pre-season. He was injured in the Champions League final and for the national team.

"He needs his rhythm to be fit. That's why it was so good for him to play 90 minutes today. Knowing he is not in the right condition. Now is the moment for Kevin to start to be ready.

"He has not been running back like he runs forward. Today he did it for the first time. He will be back because he is an incredible player."

Manchester City's much-changed side negotiated their way into the EFL Cup fourth round with a 6-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers.

As promised, Pep Guardiola called on City's academy on Tuesday, handing five players – including all four defenders – their debuts.

That inexperience proved a vulnerability when Brandon Hanlan gave third-tier Wycombe the lead 22 minutes in, though City's quality up front told as the hosts took control by half-time.

Kevin De Bruyne restored parity with a superb finish before Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden made life more comfortable for the holders.

Ferran Torres got in on the act and Mahrez grabbed a second to put the result beyond all doubt, with Cole Palmer's first senior goal adding further gloss.

City missed some presentable chances early on and were made to pay. Zack Steffen's weak punch from a corner fell to Ryan Tafazolli, who squared to the unmarked Hanlan to lash home.

Sparked into life, however, City hit straight back – De Bruyne finding the right-hand corner after cutting in from the left following Foden's pass.

A venomous Raheem Sterling effort cracked against the left-hand post as City clicked into gear, with the same upright then denying De Bruyne a second.

Yet Wycombe's luck ran out prior to half-time. Joshua Wilson-Esbrand capped off an impressive run by squaring for Mahrez to sweep home, before the power on Foden's strike did for Wycombe keeper David Stockdale.

Anthony Stewart tried his luck from range as Wycombe searched for a way back into the game, before Jordan Obita was denied by Steffen.

Any slender comeback hopes were swiftly ended, though, with Foden sliding across for Torres to tuck in from close range.

There was time for more – Mahrez helping himself to a second before substitute Palmer rounded off an emphatic win with a crisp finish.

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